The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I loved the idea of this book. I liked its execution. The Bromance Book Club is a second chance love story with a twist. Gavin and Thea, the couple at the center of this story, love each other, but they met and married young, had twin girls and never took the time necessary to get to know each other, work through their own baggage and make their marriage work. The twist is that Gavin’s friends and colleagues on his professional baseball team have offered to coach him on how to get his wife back. Their secret weapon/guidebook? The traditional bodice ripper romance novels one would assume these traditional, hypermasculine men wouldn’t be caught dead reading under normal circumstances.
The setup reminds me of the refrain me of a Sheryl crow song: “are you strong enough to be my man?” because the story really does revolve around a specific type of strength, the internal fortitude it takes to push aside pride in the name of love and become a good partner. As the book shows, that kind of strength sometimes goes against the typical conventions of masculinity.
The logic of the book club is straightforward: if romance novels reflect women’s fantasies, then couldn’t a man use them to learn what women really want and adjust his wayward behavior accordingly? It’s a kind of social learning experiment—the men learn by observing and then emulating or avoiding the behaviors that work for or against the men in these stories.
The action mainly involves Gavin gaining insights from these novels and his friends coaching to work through a lot of mistrust, misunderstanding and misplaced pride that led to the separation in the first place. It’s a light and gimmicky but original premise and it’s fairly well executed. The everyday complications and hurdles the couple faces are recognizable and down to earth. Overall, the Bromance Book Club is a fun, engaging escape with a few original touches and sweet, engaging characters. It doesn’t stay with you long after you close the book, but it’s a nice ride while it lasts.
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